Ryan (Michael Eklund) suddenly comes to his senses on level 6 of a multi-storey car park. Sweating and breathing hard, he frantically searches for an exit - avoiding the junkie who's puking her guts up at the main gate.

Something unseen lunges toward Ryan at great speed, much like the climactic scene from THE EVIL DEAD. And we assume that's it: Ryan's toast.

But no, he turns up the following day at the local police station demanding to speak to female cop Porhowski (Sarah-Jane Redmond). Why he wants to speak to her in particular, is something she amazingly doesn't question.

However, Porhowski is sceptical about jumpy Ryan's account of what he's been through in the previous 24 hours. In the interview room, he begins to tell her how he was abducted by strangers and locked in a darkened room with four other men. A voice over a speaker told them they were trapped overnight and had to play games - musical chairs, bingo, etc - to survive: anyone who lost a game, died.

Although flashbacks are given, helping us visualise Ryan's torment, the details of his eventual escape are kept sketchy. All we gleam is than an over-acting janitor named Joe (Ron Sauve) assisted in his getaway.

Porhowski is reluctant to believe the story, but still concerned when Ryan goes missing after she temporarily leaves the room to fetch him a drink. Still, that doesn't stop her from clocking off for the evening.

On her drive home, Porhowski discovers Ryan hidden in the back of her car. Pulling her own gun on her, Ryan makes Porhowski drive to level 6 of the car park.

Once they get there, Ryan displays less morals than Ted Nugent when he reveals the real reason for getting Porhowski there. While her cop colleagues try to trace her by researching Joe and Ryan on the Internet, Porhowski is left to discover the truth about "the entrance" and face her own past

As the opening text intro informs us, this low-budget quickie was loosely inspired by 17th Century priest Father Michaelis' writings about a nun possessed by a fallen angel. The religious subtext is one factor that helps set THE ENTRANCE apart from the numerous films it brings to mind: CUBE, SAW 2, MY LITTLE EYES, AQUARIUM, ARE YOU SCARED, BREATHING ROOM, WAZ, RED ROOM etc. The questions pondered regarding good versus evil may not always be answered in the script, but do at least offer something more to think about in what would have otherwise been a fairly brainless horror film.

Another healthy plot point that helps differentiate THE ENTRANCE is it's shift of focus on to Porhowski's character -giving the script a life outside of the derivative "torture-game" set-pieces of Ryan's story. Redmond gives a solid performance as the outwardly strong cop, buckling as truths boil to the surface and ultimately revealing herself to be a convincing screen blubberer.

In contrast, Eklund's overactive portrayal of Ryan could've benefited from some serious reining in. Where was director Damon Vignale when he was needed? Between Eklund's preposterous bouts of twitchy paranoia and homicidal anger, and Sauve's OTT facial contortions as Joe, you could be forgiven for mistaking THE ENTRANCE as a supremely pretentious comedy.

But, irregular performances aside, the film often looks good, boasting the visual sheen and slick editing techniques of an above-par TV film. Lighting and camera-work are derivative but competently implemented. What minor gore is offered does at least register.

Although the film wastes no time in getting into the action, it does however seem overly filled with lengthy scenes of characters walking around slowly/ There's considerable padding evident, considering the running time is only 77 minutes.

It's interesting how the script comes round full-circle, making sense of an early conversation between Porhowski and her father (Bernard Cuffling). And the script (by Vignale) has flashes of inspiration that suggest this could have been much better in the hands of a better director and cast. The end result is one of those films that leaves you thinking, "Well, it wasn't bad".

THE ENTRANCE boasts a sharp, clean picture presentation in anamorphic 1.78:1. Definition is detailed and colours are accurate yet bold. There are plenty of dark scenes but they hold up extremely well. My only gripe is the very minor existence of motion blurring.

The English 2.0 audio is a largely consistent job, although I did find the odd passage of dialogue to be a little low in the mix. It made the jump-music clips all the joltier though!

All menus are static, including a scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 8 chapters.

The only bonus on DNC's disc is a non-anamorphic trailer for THE ENTRANCE, which clocks in around the minute-and-a-half mark.

Not gory or sadistically imaginative to rival the SAW series, THE ENTRANCE does nevertheless score points for adding a more ecumenical element to proceedings. But come the end of the film, you'll be hard pushed not to think that it's about time this particular sub-genre was laid to rest for good.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Dnc Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review